• Reviews 

    Wednesday Is New Comic Book Day! (10-07-09)

    By | October 8th, 2009
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Do you know what came out today? Do you?? Do. You. Know. What. Came. Out. Today. You guys. Seriously, you guys. Today is the day. Today is the day. If you don’t know what came out today, then I officially don’t know what to do with you. Seriously.

    In honor of this book, we’re introducing a revamp of an old style: book of the week. Each week we will pick a book that we are most excited for, and all of us will review it, offering a much larger scope of opinion on the book for you, our faithful readers. So enjoy that as we each throw in our tidbits about the most anticipated book of the week!

    BOOK OF THE WEEK: Planetary #27

    Matt’s Thoughts: Well, it’s been a long long road to get to this point. 10 years! All the loose ends are finally closed off and the Planetary tale has been told in full. This issue does exactly what you would assume it does and focus all of the final pages on the last mystery: the whereabouts of Ambrose Chase. In seeing the image of the final issue at Comic Con, I wasn’t exactly sure what entirely to expect. On one hand, I’d love a full retrospective of the series from beginning to end, but I knew that wasn’t what we would be getting. The cover pretty much does that. No, this issue stays true to form and focuses on one mission at a time, with the amazingly creative writing talents of Warren Ellis and the insanely great art styles of John Cassaday. Ellis’ writing here is still top notch, and I found a lot of his theories about time travel to be very interesting and ones that I myself had never really thought of before, and Cassaday as always did an amazing job of matching Warren’s mind with art. The issue does a great job of bringing everything around to a happy and conclusive end that puts the Planetary organization in the right place for a bright future.

    Of course, I would have liked more. I mean, Planetary is the best thing Warren Ellis has ever written in my opinion. The adventures of this group as far as I’m concerned could go on forever. And that’s pretty much the insinuation by Ellis at the end, that now that we know what happened to Amrbose we’re ready for a new set f mysteries. Of course, I don’t feel that would entirely be appropriate. As much as I love the book, it’s not one that needed to go on forever, and I’m happy with the send off the book has received, especially that last page. That last page, to me, was all together brilliant in planning and scope, and the entirety of the story from beginning to end was a wonderful finale to an amazing story.

    David’s Thoughts: I’m not going to go into very much detail because this is just a follow up review to what Matt said, but come on; it’s the last issue of Planetary. Even though they wrapped up the primary storyline with the Four in the last issue (you know, the one from three years ago this month), Warren Ellis and John Cassaday wanted to wrap up their magnum opus by getting the Planetary team to save their lost fourth member — Ambrose Chase.

    I won’t go into detail as to whether or not they’re successful, but I will say this: both creators are as on their game as they have been at any point in their career. This is Ellis bringing his mad scientist work and his covertly deft emotional work at the highest level, successfully interweaving a hard science fiction story about time travel (and making it make sense!) and a story about a man trying to get his friend back. Not only that, but you have John Cassaday bringing the best art he’s ever done to this book. That’s saying something given the fact I think he’s the best artist in the industry, bar none. This is a very strong contender for issue of the year, but come on now, you knew it would be before you picked it up, didn’t you?

    Continued below

    Gil’s Thoughts: Incredible. The heavily anticipated finale of one of the most lauded books in recent memory has finally come. If you had told me six months ago that the book would finally be coming out, I might have laughed in your face. It’s been 10 years since the book started, and 3 since issue #26 came out. I actually had to re-read the entire series before reading the final issue because I had forgotten about the adventures of Elijah Snow and company. And was it worth the wait? The answer to that is a resounding a definite YES.

    This book is also one of the best books in recent memory because it challenges my mind. Ellis’ theories are the most mind bottling (yes, bottling, where you feel as if your mind is trapped in a bottle) yet engaging ideas out there. I’m usually the guy that hates time travel stories because they make things unnecessarily complicated and the endings usually end up unsatisfactorily for me. But this was one of the most straightforward concepts in time travel I’ve ever heard. And that was truly refreshing. Ellis never manages to lose his sense of humor either, and it’s deliciously twisted. You’ll see why.

    Since this is basically a gush-fest for the books, let me just say John Cassaday’s pencils on this book are probably the best I’ve seen in some time. He’s always been one of my favorites, and this issue proves why he’s absolutely brilliant. The entire issue is chock-full of iconic moments that any lesser artist would not have been able to pull off quite like Mr. Cassaday. I even got caught looking at the subtle nuances in the background. That’s how rich and detailed the issue actually is.

    This book is about as perfect as you can get.


    Vengeance of the Moon Knight #2
    Man, I sure do love me some good old fashioned Moon Knight action! He’s one of my favorite underdog heroes, as I think is pretty apparent at the article I wrote spotlighting him. And this new book excites me greatly, especially because with this issue I can clearly see that Greg Hurwitz knows his Moon Knight.

    This issue essentially works to recreate the cast that Charlie Huston assembled in his amazing Moon Knight book. They had all been tropes of the Moon Knight saga of course, but to me Huston really defined their characters and how they interacted with one another, especially the fact that Frenchie was gay for Moon Knight all along. That was all Huston. We once again have the Profiler as a villain, and everyone is seeing Marc as he continues to dis-acknowledge his previous identity. Most importantly, though, we see how Bushman is going to return to the series and become once again Moon Knight’s main antagonist, which is very exciting for me. What Huston and Finch did with the character was astounding and I can’t wait to see the return of Raoul Bushman in another issue!

    The whole dialogue between the Sentry and Moon Knight, which acts as the starting point of this issue, serves as a really important scene for both characters. Essentially, the Sentry knows of Moon Knight’s past indiscretions but can’t do anything to him now because Moon Knight hasn’t officially done anything wrong and he doesn’t know that Norman is looking for him. Moon Knight also knows of the Sentry’s mental problems, and the two serve to taunt each other. I LOVE the end of the scene where the Sentry looks at Moon Knight and tells him that he will crack and he will fall, and the Moon Knight looks back and says “So will you.” Brilliant.

    While I love the book so far, I’m not crazy about the art. I mean, after having Finch on the character, why would anyone want anyone else? Finch was amazing at drawing the character and making him look powerful and menacing, and while this new artwork is still entertaining and works in context of the book, I can’t help but look back at the old art and say, “Man, this was SO much better.” That is a small gripe on the book, though.

    Continued below

    All in all, I recommend this book to followers of Moon Knight. As few of us as there are, it so far is working as a great follow up to what Benson came in and thrashed down into the dirt with his lame ideas and repeated use of the word “bro.”

    Final Verdict: This is a browse for most people, but I’m going to buy buy buy

    Sweet Tooth #2
    I LOVE THIS BOOK. Do you guys get that? It’s been two issues and I’m absolutely enthralled. I can’t recommend it enough. I had high hopes after reading the first issue, and this issue continues to expand on everything I had initially wanted the book to expand upon. It’s essentially like someone looked at a book called “How Does Matt Like Hs Comics?” and then put this together for Jeff. I can’t get over it.

    In a rundown, Sweet Tooth takes place in post apocalyptia, in a world where everyone is dead except for a small few, and some of those few happen to be hybrid children between animals and people. In the previous issue, we had been left open with many many questions, including how did the world fall and what’s with the antlers? This issue, right off the bat, takes some of the questions and answers them, but while we have the answers to those questions quickly and gratefully, we now have a brand new set of questions to go along with it. There is so much room for the book to expand, it’s incredible. The majority of this issue takes place around a fire at a destroyed and abandoned gas station where we learn more about the mysterious man from the first issue while also slowly becoming acquainted with the new world this book puts us in. And absolutely no punches are pulled – the book ends with much more bloodshed then I would’ve expected, and it’s such a great twist ending that I’m already craving the next issue.

    In essence, I don’t know what I can say beyond what I initially said to inform you this book is a must read. Vertigo series right off the bat are definite pick ups, but this book grabbed me so deeply that I’m absolutely amazed how interested I am in a book I thought I would initially not care for. If you’re looking for a new book to grab, well, there’s a lot of ’em out there, but I would personally recommend you grab this one up. It’s absolutely wonderful from start to finish. An enthralling read I can’t recommend enough without going all fanboy all over the place.

    Final Verdict: BUY.

    Kill Audio #1
    Speaking of new series, we have Kill Audio by Claudio Sanchez of the band Coheed and Cambria. I’m going to go right on record here and say that the only musician I think who can write a good comic book is Gerard Way. Umbrella Academy? That first volume had me hook line and sinker. Pete Wentz and his Fall Out Toy Works? Ugh. That was a painful read. And Claudio Sanchez? His first volume of The Amory Wars was ultimately a disappointment, making the bigger story of Coheed and Cambria even more of a convoluted and confusing mystery than it was before. However, I am a supporter of the comic arts and I am willing to give anything a shot, so I grabbed Kill Audio.

    Kill Audio is an odd piece of work, in both a good way and a bad. It’s highly imaginative and I’ll give him that, but it also is essentially a twisted and musical version of the Wizard of Oz. We have the main character Kill Audio, who looks just like Claudio and can not die, on his way to find his purpose (his way home?), along with his coked out chicken friend, a musical elitist reaper, and what I think is a talking pillow. It’s hard to describe, but as you can see, the characters are pretty insanely out there. The odd thing is is that it immediately expands on the original 4 page short that existed for the character, although without all of the insanity right away. The original short started with knives throwing knives, and all of that is still in this book, but everything after that is a little bit more tame. I’m sure we can expect a lot more insanity yet to come, and this will definitely be one of the weirdest books I own.

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    I’m not overly enthralled with it, though. I didn’t go in with too high expectations or anything and I can’t say that after reading it I’m dying for the next issue. I’ll admit it was a pretty entertaining read, but it’s not one I’m overly fond of. I don’t much care about the characters or their ultimate direction, but what I can say is that I am intrigued by the oddity and the artwork enough to want to keep on going. See, it’s the world these characters live in that truly make the book something of a sight to be held. Knives throwing knives, man. Come on. As the book continues along, the landscape gets odder and odder, and I’ll be the first to admit that I really enjoy it. The art stylings are definitely what make this book for me.

    Other than the art, though, I can’t say there’s to much in it I can really recommend to the ongoing public. If you’re a fan of Claudio, then definitely pick it up because it showcases his weird side (yes, even more weird than Coheed in general), but otherwise I would move on.

    Final Verdict: At least a quick browse

    War Heroes #3
    Hey, you guys. Remember this series? Yeah? Remember when it was coming out, like, a year ago? No? You don’t? Yeah, it wasn’t really promoted well, but I swear to God it existed. Basically, War Heroes was what Mark Millar was doing at the same time he was doing “Old Man Logan,” his entire Fantastic Four run, 1985, and the still incomplete Kick-Ass. War Heroes was what, and I quote, “Ultimates 3 should have been” (said quote coming from both Bryan Hitch and Mark Millar in completely different places).

    So let’s play a little catch-up: essentially, the government has designed a drug that allows people to get super powers. It’s not permanent and lasts about 9 hours or so, but it’s pretty much a standard army thing now, making America once again the most superior nation on the planet. Of course, there are some people who don’t think that’s such a great idea. In fact, they decide that they want to sell the pills to Al Qaeda for ten million big ones in order to help take down the Great Satan.

    That’s about where we left off. And guess what? This issue picks up exactly there and twists it all around. Now, I have no idea what caused all the delays on the book. Millar is usually good about getting his scripts out on time, so I’m going to say Tony Harris probably had some kind of a delay there (cough cough Ex Machina cough cough), and this severely hurts the book. I mean, I completely forgot about it! Then I picked up the book. It took me about 5 minutes to read, but it kicked me right in the ass. Like… BAM. I will admit that on one hand I feel like maybe the story is now going to get a bit rushed out because the jump was HUGE, but then again I can assume this is what Millar always intended. And this issue was pretty awesome. I like Millar and I was always “ok” on the concept of War Heroes, but this issue brought my interest back in. I won’t give it all away, but look at the cover. Big hint.

    Basically, Harris is a great artist and Millar is a great writer. Sure, the book has had debilitating delays (what, do they want this to be the next Planetary? Ba dum dum TCH!), but it’s still Millar’s great writing coupled with Harris’ ability to draw a truly terrifying sequence of events. I swear to God, it’s a quick read but it’s a great read, and as long as the rest of the book comes out on time it should be good.

    DESPITE ALL THAT, though? Due to the delays, I’m going to give this one a wait for trade. The wait is hard, but if you read it one sitting, I’m sure it’ll come out much better.

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    Final Verdict: Grab this one in trade

    Criminal: The Sinners #1
    I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Ed Brubaker is the definitive noir writer of our time. The original first two volumes of Criminal, his mini Incognito, his run on Daredevil… the man is an absolute genius when it comes to writing modern day noir stories. Partner him with Sean Philips (as we have been doing on Criminal, Incognito, and David’s favorite Sleeper), and you have the recipe for an absolutely amazing tale. I had known Criminal was coming back for a long time now because Brubaker had repeatedly been saying it in the back of issues of Incognito, and I was highly anticipating it. I will even go so far as to say that I believe Criminal in it’s entirety is MUCH better than Sin City in it’s entirety. That’s right – that’s how much better I believe this book is. And now that it’s finally here, what can I say?

    I’ll tell you what I can say: Frak. Yes.

    I have loved Criminal ever since I first read it, and the latest installment already has me hooked. Brubaker once again shows off his amazing abilities as a writer (as if we had any time at all to forget). In this story, we have our protagonist Tracey, a hitman who longs for some kind of salvation and tries his best to create some form of morality in which to stand behind. Meanwhile, the man who has him in his pocket, Mr. Hyde, puts him out on yet another mission to find an unknown assassin ruining his town. The deal is, if Tracey delivers, he will be out of debt to Mr. Hyde and he will finally be able to leave. Of course… it’s never that easy, is it? No. It never is. And as you read, you’ll see two reasons exactly why it’s never that easy, and both set it up to be yet another great installment in Brubaker’s Criminal world.

    I don’t know what I can ay without gushing too much. I believe I’ve already made numerous selling points for the book that any normal comic fan would see and take as note enough to buy this book if they haven’t already. However, if you aren’t convinced enough, I’d say look at it this way: comics do not feature enough good and original pulp fiction with high noir elements. Criminal does. You need good and original pulp fiction with high noir elements in your diet. Criminal will provide this for you. Sean Phillips is an absolutely amazing artist, and his shading is absolutely brilliant, similar to Darwyn Cooke, and Ed Brubaker is always an amazing writer, whether or not he is writing a superhero you’re overly familiar with (Captain America) or his own original creations. Either way, this is a can’t miss book.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Irredeemable #7
    I have been a very big supporter of this book since the first issue because it came out as an incredibly surprise to me. I hadn’t heard much press behind it, and I still haven’t, and that’s a crying shame. Irredeemable is by far the best limited series coming out of BOOM! Studios right now, and Mark Waid proves that he is still by far and large one of the best story tellers out there to do date.

    Irredeemable stands to run 12 issues, and one of the issues when you have such a short limited series like that is can you really fit in everything you need to properly tell this story? When it comes to Waid, the answer is a resounding yes. The biggest question through out the book has been why did the Plutonian go rogue, and this issue essentially answers that. The best part, though, is it doesn’t flat out say, “Oh, here’s why.” It shows a series of events that you, as the reader, understand is the answer to the question you’ve been asking since the beginning. It is, of course, not the whole story, but it’s enough that you can fully understand everything behind his motivations. That’s what makes Waid a great story teller – he doesn’t need to spell out the formula of everything to you. He shows you bits and pieces of the tale and from that you can fully understand everything. It’s pretty wonderful.

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    Before this book, Peter Krause was not a name I was at all familiar with. However, I can now say without a doubt that Peter Krause is an artist worth following around the world of comics, if he chooses to make more comics after this (I’m just going off information from his Wiki page). Krause’s ability of showing the world surrounding Irredeemable has always been magnificent (especially when the Plutonian causes that massive flood and kills members of the UN), but as the series gets more and more in depth with it’s issues, his artwork continues to get better and better.

    It absolutely blows my mind that these two were able to team up and create a story like this on this level. While it is being published by a smaller company, I implore you readers to go out and find this book, at least in trade. It’s simply an incredible crafting of art and words between two masters of the art.

    Final Verdict: Definitely buy


    Astonishing X-Men #31
    It’s been seven issues and a year and 3 months since Warren Ellis took over Astonishing X-Men. Not exactly the greatest rate of release, and to be honest, it hasn’t been as acceptable as it was on Whedon and Cassaday’s run because that was just so damn good. Ellis has been great so far, but to be honest, Simone Bianchi’s art has made it almost unreadable to me because I hate his art so much. Thankfully, this is basically a restart, with Ellis relaunching the book with the X-Men on their new home and being asked to go on their first mission for the US Government, AND a new artistic partner: Phil Jiminez. While it isn’t yet up to Whedon/Cassaday’s standards, it is a strong beginning to a new creative team.

    This issue finds Abigail Brand (Head of S.W.O.R.D. and girlfriend to Beast) in all kinds of trouble, whether it’s taking a hive of the Brood on head to head or crash landing on Earth in a horrific trajectory (aka one that means she’s going to die). Of course, this just means this gives Ellis the opportunity to write an awesome rescue scene, and he and Jiminez pull it off quite well. The biggest complaint is sometimes with the art you lose what exactly they’re trying to do until they’re actually doing it. But the pacing of the scene makes it extremely exciting, and Ellis manages to effectively introduce and show the powers of every member of the team in entirely organic fashion. Of course, the surprising ending leads to the return to Earth of a long time X-Men villain, and in very exciting fashion. This is what we were hoping for from Ellis all along.

    So, in summation, so far in this issue we effectively have an unannounced reboot to this book in an entirely different situation with a new artist. While the art is nowhere near as good as Cassaday, it is light years better than Bianchi. I think it’s safe to say this book is back to being worth a pick up, at least for the first few issues to test the waters.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Daredevil #501
    Man, if I was a writer I would hate to follow up Ed Brubaker. Hell, I would hate to have followed him up on Uncanny X-Men, and that run wasn’t even that good. Daredevil on the other hand is Brubaker’s less spoken of masterpiece, as it is regularly overshadowed by Bendis’ run on it. So not only is Andy Diggle trying to live up to Brubaker, but he’s also trying to live up to Bendis. Sheesh. Tough acts to follow.

    Thankfully, Diggle obviously doesn’t have any problems with that, as the first issue is a complete blast that keeps the atmospheric intensity while removing a lot of the self loathing that was growing rampant towards the end of Brubaker’s run. Thankfully, Brubaker fixed a lot of his own problems by the end of the run, getting rid of the dreadful anchor that was Milla and putting our boy Matt Murdock into a new and exciting situation. Diggle takes the idea that Daredevil is now the leader of the Hand and runs with it, but doesn’t abandon the old status quo as we still get plenty of Foggy, Dakota, and the rest. Diggle really seems to understand the character and the pathos that surrounds him, yet doesn’t wallow in it. That is an exciting change in itself.

    Continued below

    Of course, given that Bendis and Brubaker helped establish a very specific artistic style to this book with their choices of artistic partners, Diggle is only half of a very important equation. Thankfully, Diggle’s partner is his former partner on Thunderbolts — Roberto de la Torre. De la Torre’s art is pitch perfect for this series, as he captures the dreary nature of Daredevil’s existence with the Hand and in Hell’s Kitchen to perfection. Needless to say, I’m very excited about this book as I think Diggle and de la Torre are a dream team for ol’ Hornhead.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Cable #19
    While I dropped this book for a while because I really did not like the art, I picked it back up because I feel really involved with the Nathan Summers/Hope storyline as written by Duane Swierczynski. While I’d never heard of the guy before this and Immortal Iron Fist, he’s turned out to be a consistently solid writer. The fact that he’s routinely paired with terrible artists is very unfortunate, however, as this book is a really exciting one that is brought down by pretty weak art.

    Swierczynski has done a fantastic job at believably developing the Hope character, as she easily could have been a one off character that didn’t have a lot of depth because of the nature of her existence (mutant savior born in Messiah CompleX). She’s becoming a very interesting character with believable emotions throughout, and her relationship with Nathan and future love Emil are the backbone for the story. You would think with the fact that Bishop has been the only antagonist so far in the story (really), that the story may drag eventually, but it is a testament to Swierczynski’s ability that the story has been consistently engaging. Really, if you think about it, the villain of the story in some ways is Cable’s inability to timeslide back to when they came from, and their attempts to get home (or at the very least, somewhere safe) provides the dramatic tension.

    Of course, this is all brought down a bit by Gabriel Guzman’s extremely plain and often awkward art. It’s sad how the perceived lower tier X-books like this and X-Factor are consistently saddled by bad artists (of course, given my distaste for Land and Bianchi, you could make the argument that it’s all X-books), as both would be more highly regarded with elite artistic talent on them. As much as I love the story and the characters, it’s hard to fully recommend this book given my opinions on the art.

    Final Verdict: Browse

    Haunt #1
    This is assuredly going to be one of the more divisive titles in recent memory, but with massive industry talent like Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley and Greg Capullo working on it, how could I not pick it up? Well, I’m glad I did as through one issue it is at the very least a massively entertaining romp with blood, guts, and some sadistic humor thrown in their from time to time.

    Kirkman and McFarlane co-created this title about two brothers, one of whom is the world’s most terrible priest (“what’s up hookers?”) and the other of whom is a warm hearted death machine for the government, and what happens when the death machine dies and the priest is left to protect his family and to solve the mystery of what happened to him. Needless to say (given the cover), this ends up not being a typical story as the priest’s brother haunts him and all kinds of super powered (and gory!) shenanigans happen, but it’s all told in very entertaining fashion by Kirkman, one of the most consistently fantastic voices in comics today.

    Not only that, but Ryan Ottley’s art is at a whole new level here. With Ottley slightly changing his style for the subject matter, McFarlane inking (and giving Ottley’s art significantly more depth), and Capullo laying out the pages, this is an exciting, kinetic, and incredibly pretty book to look at. It’s like Ryan Ottley was Nuke Laloosh from Bull Durham and McFarlane/Capullo were Crash Davis, and they managed to help take him to the next level. Worth a pick up for just the art, but man, it may be early but I feel like this is another exciting new title from Image.

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    Final Verdict: Buy

    Amazing Spider-Man #607
    This issue manages to do a few things: combines my least favorite writer in the Spidey team with a no-name artist and gets them to tackle what managed to be the character that represents the worst storyline in the history of Spider-Man comics. Why would they bring back anything involving Ben Reilly? I thought they did the whole reset with Brand New Day to specifically get rid of all of the terribleness that had infected the book, and that all started with the dreaded Clone Saga. Just a completely perplexing decision by the Spidey Team.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that they have arguably the worst writer on their team (I like Guggenheim, just not on this book) and Luke Ross (UGH) and Marco Chechetto splitting artistic duties. I really do not like Ross and his homeless man’s version of Steve Epting, and Chechetto is not that much better. While it is split logically (Ross on flashbacks, Chechetto on modern times), I just do not like multi-artist issues. The fact that both of them are mediocre doesn’t help either.

    While I’ve been really enjoying Amazing Spider-Man, this is definitely not going to end up being their finest hour.

    Final Verdict: Pass


    Batman and Robin #5
    And Grant brings hard core to Gotham.

    With the Red Hood back on Batman’s turf, bad things were bound to happen. Especially since it’s Jason Todd under that cylindrical fishbowl of DOOM. The issue is told from the perspective of Red Hood’s sidekick Scarlet. Scarlet, a character introduced in the last arc, was the girl that Robin tried to save from Professor Pyg. Suffering from a form of insanity that comes with kidnapping, torture, and attempted murder, Scarlet has it rough.

    As usual, Grant Morrison crafts a taut yarn that expands the boundaries of what people think a normal comic book should tell. Instead of simply telling a story about fighting crime, it asks the question about how far is too far? What happens when we do go too far? How can we go? It’s well told, and very dark. The new uberbad is probably even darker than the previous Professor. Ironic that he’s named Flamingo…

    If the book has a weak point, it’s the art. Philip Tan’s pencils alternate between clean and sloppy, from page to page, sometimes even from panel to panel. Character models are off, and sometimes heads looks more like jelly beans than they do human heads. It’s frustrating to see the art be so messy.

    If you’re willing to overlook the art, this is a solid book. Morrison is a masterful storyteller, and he knows how to tell a Batman story.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    World of New Krypton #8
    As the New Krypton arc continues, things only seem to be getting even more complicated for the last of Superman’s race. The battle between The Kryptonians and the Thanagarians concludes this issues, only to be replaced by another threat. And one I’m not afraid to admit I had to google after reading it. The moon hurdling towards Kew Krypton was quickly resolved, and it will be fine until the solar system falls apart in about 4 billion years or so. NBD.

    It’s a return to form for Kal-El. Last issue I complained that he was out of character, adjusting to leading the entire Kryptonian military. I still stand by that, but thankfully in this issue, he’s back to being the symbol of hope that he always was. General El negotiated a peaceful end to the hostilities between the two alien races. But before that, there’s another wrinkle that adds to the pot, as I mentioned before. I do like how this is getting political, dealing with other peoples and other races. And Superman is a worthy diplomat to diffuse these situations.

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    Overall, I think it’s a vast improvement over the previous issue, and makes the plot a bit more interesting. The writing is well paced, and the art, while nothing overly amazing, is handled well. My only caveat is that it there are only 4 issues left, so you should be a little wary. But at the very least check it out.

    Final Verdict: Browse

    Deadpool #16
    This is hands down, the strangest book I’m reviewing this week. Deadpool wants to join the X-Men. But he’s soundly rejected by the team’s leader, Scott Summers, better known and Cyclops (Not just no, HELL NO!). Dagger, of all people (I wasn’t even aware she stayed with the X-Men after the Utopia/Exodus crossover), points out the hypocrisy of this, considering the checkered past of about….half of the existing team, from Emma Frost to Rogue to even Wolverine.

    Eventually, Cyclops relents and sends Domino to Wade’s pad to offer him a position. Deadpool is understandably suspicious, but after a pancake marathon with Domino, decides to join, with one condition. He gets his own costume. And it’s terrible. But that’s kind of the point. It’s unfortunate that this at the same time there’s a parent of one of the Young X-Men who’s trying to sue to get his daughter back. But it’s really someone being manipulated by everyone’s favorite villain with his fingers in all the pies, Osborn, pulling the strings. So Deadpool volunteers to do what any member of the X-Men would do. He offers to assassinate the accuser!

    Oops. Spoiler. But you’re really not missing much. It’s really frustrating, because Deadpool is only really in half of the book. There are also some hokey plot devices used which do nothing but confuse. Like a pile of 372,844 pancakes. What? It’s too hokey, even for Deadpool’s dementia. The artwork also disappoints. It’s hard to put my finger on it, I just think it doesn’t mesh well with a character like Deadpool.

    Final Verdict: Pass

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer #29
    This is how you write an epic battle. Buffy, her Scoobys, and the band of Slayers, had retreated to the safety of a familiar friend in Oz’s enclave in the Himalayas. But so much for that, The evil that is Twilight(while we’re in the subject, do you think that was a coincidence or does Whedon really thinks the book series is evil? Haha) uses his connections to send an army to destroy our heroes once and for all. Luckily they have a few tricks up their sleeve. From weapons gains from neighbors to the east to a torpedo (Torpedoes work on land!), they obviously have some surprises in store. But they’re not faring too well. And in a twist, the cliffhanger has me wondering where it can go from here.

    Jane Espenson, like I said, crafts a well put together epic. It was refreshing to see it after a few clunkers the past few weeks. She’s also pairing the action with brief but strong moments of plot movement, like the naughtiness between Xander and Dawn kissing. Man, that still creeps me out. It still has that signature Buffy sound and attitude, with the almost cutesy snark. There’s a reason I love this universe and its inhabitants. They sound like actual people, and I can even hear the voice of the original actors.

    The art is great because it reminds me of the discarded Buffy Animated animation design, albeit in a slightly more realistic tone, but not much more. It adds a lot of fun to the book, and I’m glad that Jeanty, the artist in charge, is there to provide art that can match the style of writing. Kudos.

    Final Verdict: Buy

    Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors

    Continued below

    So that’s where Ed McGuinness went.
    Four weeks into “The List” and I don’t feel like there’s much going on. Osborn is like Nixon. He has this list of enemies, and he’s trying to snuff them out. His success has been mixed at best, but this one is decidedly different, as Norman is teaming up with someone on his list instead of merely trying to eliminate them.

    It’s like the Secret Agent Odd Couple. Colonel Nick Fury, the former leader of the most powerful police organization in the world, and Norman Osborn, the corrupt leader of that organizations replacement going after the same goals. There’s a new conspiracy in town and they’re just finding out about it. But again, the end feels like it’s more of the same, as it looks like the premise of this list is the downfall of Norman Osborn.

    Which I guess makes sense, this storyline can’t go on forever, and it’s actually ending soon anyway. But it also feels like it’s being done in a forced manner. I think the most frustrating part about this book is that it takes place AFTER something that comes out in 3 weeks! Why bother releasing it so soon? It doesn’t make sense to me. But I guess I’m not an editor.

    The saving grace of this is the art. As I mentioned earlier, Ed McGuinness is performing the art duties, and it’s a lot of fun to look at. His Osborn reminds me a lot of his Luthor, but I think that’s the point. Osborn has been called the Lex of the Marvel U, so why not go for it? At least check this out, if only for the great visuals.

    Final Verdict: Browse

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."